Duckzilla in Krakow, Poland © Eleanor Christie

Krakow will always be the city where the impossible becomes possible for me.

I had just started out on a month of travelling around Europe with a friend, and the trip had not got off to the best of starts. Having flown into Warsaw expecting a month of beautiful sun ahead of us we were sorely disappointed as we trudged to our grey concrete block of a hostel in the pouring rain. Suffice to say that Warsaw has not left the same impression on me as Krakow.

The weather immediately changed for the better when we walked out of the train station and into a VW festival. Every kind of VW van to Beetle was there, and so although we had to go on our way, due to heavy backpacks, this set the mood for the random occurrences that we would see whilst there.

The next two days we spent visiting the castle and wandering around, all the while enjoying baking sun and the constant surroundings of amber shops. The true life of the town is in the central square – known as Rynek Główny. Here we saw break dancers and fire eaters, most likely the only funny mime in the world and a man dressed as a bug probably from the dominions of hell, with hooves and scaly wings.

However, what truly sticks in my mind is what we saw on our last night in Krakow, as we waited to catch a night train for Prague. I am certain that the sight was not the product of taking too enthusiastically to the local drink tatanka (a mixture of apple juice and special vodka), but only because I have photographic evidence.

What we saw was a group of people carrying a gigantic rubber duck around. The type that you might have in a bath except for one thing; it was the size of a house, and so would probably be better to scale in the Niagara Falls. Luckily for any children there was a smaller one falling behind, probably the size of a car, so no one was left out. This parade of ducks went round the square and then left again. There did not seem to be any person in charge either. Perhaps they were stuck in the centre of the duck.

What I had just experienced seemed closer to duckzilla than the ugly duckling. When the duck left we were bewildered, but headed over to the train station and were just in time to catch a very bizarre interpretive dance set in the dark, which included rolling pianos and mime-faced contortionists. Sadly our train left before the end so we never saw the finish, but I know it would have been a suitable topping off to our stay.

I left feeling like I would fit in very well in Krakow, whenever I decide to go back.

Written by - Edited by Charlotte Amelines - Photo by Eleanor Christie

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